The Tiger Among Us – Monologue (Lia)

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A monologue from the play by Lauren Yee

LIA (seventeen, Asian (Hmong) American)

Lia is having a stream-of-consciousness monologue with herself during a volleyball game.

On the court, warming up, a pep talk. I talk to myself. I know. It’s a habit you pick up when you play like we do. Sharp. Focused. “B*tch’s talking to herself,” I hear from the other side of the net, a girl.

A monster. A blonde. “F***ing Korean girl’s talking to herself.” F***ing Korean? F***ing Korea’s far away. And so’s everything else. The house. The land. Everything except here.

Everything except this. That. Them. So this f***ing Korean says nothing. She just swallows her words, her thoughts, her Gatorade. ‘Cause I got a game to set up for. I’m the heart of the team.

The setter. I get us going, I get us pumped. I tag in, I tag out I weave between the players, the poles, past the out lines and back to my seat on the bench, as the game moves along.

Point after point, I break. I batter. I mow them down. But still it’s a close match. A neck and neck. With every bump. Set. Spike. Got it! Call it! Chance! Tag in. Tag out. Bump up. Punch out, Lia.

Move, Xiong. The face of my teammate stares down at me, waiting to take my place. But I don’t. I can’t. All I want is another minute. Moment. Another fifteen . . . fourteen . . . thirteen seconds until—

I shrug her off and I rotate into view. Of the blonde. The giant. The Scandinavian monster. “Das Goliath.” And even if I’m too far grounded to see the whites of her eyes, she’s mine.

‘Cause they don’t know, but I can fly. Way over the net, over the heads and shoulders of the opposing team. I leap into the air—and see a girl. Just like me, same face, same wondering expression. I see her and—OW! JEEZ.

(LIA clutches her face. She’s been hit) The ball. The floor. The blood streams from my nose, down my shirt, onto the court as the final buzzer goes off. I look around—And nothing.

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